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A Dirty Dozen with DERON MILLER from 96 BITTER BEINGS – January 2023

| 25 January 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: ” 96 Bitter Beings was formed in 2016 by Deron Miller (former lead vocalist and guitarist for CKY). The band released their debut record Camp Pain in 2018 and have returned four years later with their highly anticipated follow up. Fans of the original CKY sound will find Miller’s songwriting, signature riffs and inimitable vocals very familiar as he continues to create addictive, hard hitting rock.” We get Deron to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Let me start by saying that going over these questions, this is the best interview I’ve ever done because the questions are so unique, and these are the ones I love to do. Ask me weird shit! And here we go…. The new album Synergy Restored is the best album I’ve ever done. It’s literally 5-6 years in the making, interrupted by Covid and searching for record deals… I’m so happy to have it out. It has a little bit of everything I’ve ever done. CKY, Foreign Objects, World Under Blood. I love the first 2 96bb albums. I’ve never been completely satisfied with any of the records I’ve done, but these two are my trophies. Our loyal fan base will get what’s going on in 2-3 listens, but recently recruited fans will have much to mull over. There’s something about CKY and 96BB music that confuses first-time listeners. Many see it as complex, but I listen to “Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees and the bass lines, guitars and keyboards… even vocals… are outrageously complex but it’s all about the hooks. I think as soon as you add distortion to guitars, people lose their ears. It completely changes the game. Generally speaking rock and metal fans that love heavy music have historically only been able to hear simple riffs, especially if they’re not musicians… most of them aren’t.  I’ve always had trouble with that concept. For better or worse the biggest metal bands make a career out of two note riffs. Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” was the last time an audience embraced complicated song structure. that album has sold like 12 million copies, and it is very technical. James Hetfield is the guitarist I learned from, and after hearing “Disposable Heroes” and loving it, it became impossible for me to keep it simple. but you’ve got to have the hooks. The goal was never to confuse the listener. It was about challenging them. These days people have shorter attention spans and so much more music to stream. There’s a lot of competition. I have to go with my gut. I can’t write simple songs because at this point it is difficult to be impressed by what a guitar does until you overdub some color and atmosphere. synergy captures all of that. As far as hiding tracks or inside jokes or anything like that; I haven’t done that. Yet.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

As soon as I saw that famous poster of Ace Frehley with a smoking guitar from 1977… being 2 years old I remember very distinctly that whatever that was, I needed to be a part of it. My cousin educated me. By 5 years old I already had it all planned.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

My first concert was The Monkees 20th Anniversary tour at the Mann Music Center in Philly. People scoff at The Monkees because they were diet Beatles, but all the shit that went on with them… their story is worth checking out. My mother played Beatles records in our house for years, but when The Monkees showed up on MTV in 1986, they had a tv show made for kids. The Beatles were more sophisticated, but being 10 years old of course I was drawn to the comical side of The Monkees and later found out that they did write and produce their own music. and they had some great tunes. They also taught me that even serious rock and roll needs comic relief and I have utilized that concept from day one. God Bless Micky Dolenz.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Well speaking of Micky Dolenz, there’s a Monkees song called “As We Go Along.” I would love to record a new version and have him sing on it. He has a one-of-a-kind voice. It’s such a good song. I have debated whether or not to pursue it. It gets expensive pursuing these dreams. I’d love to write a Metallica song with James Hetfield. I know we could come up with something spectacular, but this shit just ain’t possible.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Movies period. Horror films, and I’ve seen all of them, so I’m bored most of the time. I have three teenagers in the house as well. I still practice guitar, keeping my right hand chops up. I’ve become a decent drummer. I’ve improved my vocal range. I’ve improved on the intensity of my vocal projection. My lungs are like steel, and they have placed me as the vocalist of my favorite band, Malevolent Creation… which is a band I’ve wanted to be in since I was 16. Even when CKY was traveling and printing money I wanted to be in that band.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Being called skate punk and nu metal made me extremely uncomfortable. They were just looking for something to label us with. Reviewers that aren’t passionate aren’t going to take the time looking outside the box. Whatever trend was in at the time they just called us that. We are none of those things. There’s just too many influences to be pigeonholed into something that basic. We are genre defying. When we released Carver City on Roadrunner Records, they knew that. but skate punk, nu metal, post grunge…I wanted to dig a hole and die in it.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Haha these days? No one. We tour in a van. We all have our own jobs and we have to be on top of them. Our manager brings me the drinks! I have such horrible stage fright that I need to be a little buzzed before I go on. You can’t bust out an acoustic guitar in a van. We do mime along with the Jerky Boys CDs that I bring with us on tour. It’s much harder to tour these days but it’s just as fun. It’s the challenge of it all. Touring in 2022? Good luck! That’s what makes it more satisfying.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Last time was James Hetfield in 2002, a week before St. Anger came out. May have been 2003. I was so nervous. When he told me he was a fan of my stuff, I remember being very close to blacking out. Axl Rose was a lot of fun. Doing eighteen shows with him. He is not the kind of rock star the press made him out to be. To me it seemed like he was looking for normalcy.  I don’t get star struck because I don’t envy celebrities. But I have to say when I was in the waiting room of an OBGYN with Paul Stanley it was hard to maintain. He is such an amazing human being. We talked for a half hour, and most of it wasn’t about KISS. He still knows how to grasp the concept of being an ordinary human being even though he is not. He is a legend.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

My dream job would have to be creative in some way. If I couldn’t make that happen id happily live on the street. I have plans to make short films. 10-15 minute stories that people understand what happened but still ask “what the fuck was that?”  I’m already into collecting and selling memorabilia. music and movies. I guess I would do that. I have to be onstage. I’d like to give lectures on depression. Do support groups. Be a motivational speaker. I have horrible stage fright, but it goes away 2 minutes after I hit the stage.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’m so sick of “how did the band start” and “where’s bam?” I like being shocked. I have never been offended in my life. I don’t know what being offended even is. I guess the question that would shock me the most is “how big is your dick when its hard?” I would say 7.5. There’s nothing you can ask that would offend me. The boring questions are the closest I’ve ever been to being offended.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

The CKY album An Answer Can Be Found was erased after it was completed. It just melted. The engineer didn’t back up the album on another disk. It was a nightmare. I thought our guitarist was going to kill him. Not kidding. I drove over to Santa Monica at 4:30am to stop him. We had to hire basically a top secret data recover specialist (that brag makes it sound cooler) we recovered 84% of the material but it was all a puzzle and some stuff had to be re-recorded. Some song sessions were mixed with other songs. it had to be pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle at Sony Studios in NYC. It cost something like $40,000. We had to hide it from the record company because the best takes of vocals and guitars had melted. We had to redo a lot or use alternate takes. I can’t listen to that record because I can hear the bad takes we had to use. 96bb rerecorded the album. It’s much better. plus we added some atmosphere that should have been on the original record. I’m not particularly fond of the “B Sides And Rarities” album that the singer of jackyl put out on his own label. Its ok, but I never got paid. There’s a lot of money out there that’s mine. It’s just a matter of time before I go and get it.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

GOD… KISS Unmasked… there’s very little info. Was Peter Criss there? Did he do backing vocals? That album came out on my 4th birthday. It was a very poppy record compared to the harder stuff kiss did. That was when I realized that one band could do different things. Pestilence Spheres… I love that album. It’s not a very good record, but it was a band taking a huge risk and I love that. not much info on that recording process either. It’s possible for your favorite record to be one that isn’t that good.

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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